Carlos Sainz has become the seventh current Formula 1 driver to sign up for the official Virtual Grand Prix events, and Sebastian Vettel might not be far behind.
Lando Norris and Nicholas Latifi were the first two drivers to take part in the original event, with Norris being active on sim racing throughout the current hiatus in live sports. Charles Leclerc, Alexander Albon, George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi made it six of the 2020 grid during the second race, and Sainz has now joined his McLaren teammate Norris in signing up for Sunday’s Virtual Chinese Grand Prix.
The Spaniard had been hesitant to commit while he worked on his brake pedal calibration but is now ensuring there will be at least two teams fielding their race driver line-ups on Sunday.
Ferrari could be next to join them, with Vettel confirming that he has now taken delivery of a sim rig, although he has yet to set it up and stopped short of committing to a future race.
“The truth is I didn’t have a simulator until a couple of days ago, so I haven’t been tempted because I didn’t have the chance,” Vettel said. “I have heard a lot of things about it, so I figured I should get one and try, but I still need to set it up properly. Generally I am not going to foresee a career in sim racing — I think it is more something to try for fun.
“I’ve grown up with some of the stuff and I have been playing some games, but to be honest since I had kids it’s not the first thing on my list to do; but we’ll see how much time there will be. I’ve read that some have been racing and I have also read that Charles (Leclerc) did well on his debut, so that was good for him and good for the team.
“I think racing should still happen in the real world outside and that is where the focus lies – the rest is just for fun. I’m aware that some people take it very seriously and spend a lot of time there, but I also enjoy doing other things so it will be a bit of a mix.”
Romain Grosjean has also got a new sim installed but Haas has yet to confirm its line-up for Sunday’s race. At Alfa Romeo, Juan Manuel Correa will partner Giovinazzi, while Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is Red Bull’s guest entry alongside Albon.